Tuesday, April 8

Shadow Music
It was a wonderful family weekend at Henry's school, Camp Hill at Beaver Run. Included in Saturday's activity schedule was group Land Work: community members, parents and students spent a couple of hours doing various outdoor tasks, culminating with a bonfire of some of the dead brush we'd cleared. It was astonishing to me that his school people have told us, over and over, what a good worker Henry is...something I'd not seen myself. But apparently, he enjoys the hard physical outdoor labor (of which there is never an end on the sprawling school campus) and, with supervision, works usefully, happily and uncomplainingly. This is almost incredible if you knew how very...um, well, lazy, he can be at home! Perhaps unmotivated is a more appropriate word. This boy has tracked me down at the opposite end of the house or down in the farthest reaches of the garden to hand me a juice box to open for him: something he can actually do by himself but doesn't like doing. I'm not sure if that would be considered motivated or lazy!

Anyway, I did finally get to see Henry-the-worker in action. I was astonished and delighted to watch him toiling away cheerfully as promised. What a rush of parental pride! Unfortunately, at times during the weekend our family's presence filled him with confusion. We usually show up at the school on weekends to take him home, and he kept trying to lead us to the car so we could leave. As he is essentially non-verbal I am only guessing what he was thinking, but I suspect it was something like: "OK, enough with all this land work and music-making! Let's go home and watch the opening credits to The Wiggles 439 times in a row!" (This love of repetition is a common autism characteristic and is called perseveration.) He was temporarily pacified by a listen to Paul's i-tunes.

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